2018-02-23 Update

2018-02-22 - Update

In the Education Committee

After a great deal of discussion, the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee finally took a vote on (L.D. 1689) Bill "AnAct To Repeal Certain Provisions Regarding the System AdministrationAllocation Affecting Maine School Districts in the 2018-2019 BiennialBudget"

This measure sought to create a system which essentially penalized school districts for a failure to establish regionalized programs and services.  The measure did not recognize those districts who had taken steps to regionalization prior to the measure.  While it incentivized regionalization of services, it also penalized districts for not taking the proper steps to make school administration more efficient.

I did see this measure as a veiled attempt to transfer local administrative costs from the state budget to the local budget.  It also is an attempt to reduce the amount of money which districts receive from the state.

We all want efficient schools and efficient school administrations. We heard that ht costs of administration in the state of Maine are higher than other places in the country; however, we did not hear about why.  More importantly, this measure was worked into the budget as a part of the appropriations legislation and it was not heard by the whole education committee.  It felt to me much more like “Tit for Tat - after the fact.”

On Guns and Gun Safety -

Most importantly though, the discussion of gun safety predominated the discussions in caucus.  The events in Florida o last week are disconcerting to stay the least.  But it feels to me as if we have reached a turning point. The actions of the children have set a shift in motion - and I support that work.  We do not need access to assault weapons.  There’s not a great deal more to say.

I celebrate the leadership of the children who seem more able to take on the issues than their adult counterparts.

Connected to this issue of gun control is the issue of mental health.  The issues are conflated.  While we seek to address the issues of gun safety, we are remiss if we do not address the issues of mental health among all our residents.  Yet, we can not hold those mentally ill people as scapegoats to the two different issues.  Instead we need two different paths of action - one to treat those who suffer from mental health issues, and second to address access to assault weapons.

Let me be as clear as possible.  I believe we have a right to guns.  I also believe we have no need for access to assault weapons. I also believe that we need to address community health issues.



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